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May 25, 2016 — Inside the Division I Final Four, Maryland vs. Syracuse

MARYLAND
Record: 21-0
Against the Final Four (3-0): Beat Syracuse 14-9, beat North Carolina 8-7, beat Penn State 10-9.
Key players: Taylor Cummings (sr., A/M), Megan Whittle (so., A), Alice Mercer (sr., D), Zoe Stukenberg (jr., M), Caroline Steele (fr., A), Nadine Hadnagy (jr., D), Megan Taylor (fr., G)
Intangibles: Maryland is dealing with the pressure of following through on all of the accolades handed to it the last three years, especially with Cummings in the lineup. Defensively solid in front of freshman goalie Megan Taylor, who has played magnificently thus far.
The skinny: There is a certain way you coach when you’re in a national championship weekend, and Reese has taken the best lessons from her mentors. One of those mentors is Gary Gait, who is going to be in the opposing coaching box. There is usually a situation that develops in games between these two teams that you’ve never seen before, whether it was Liz Hogan’s sending off, a penalty for coming onto the field even after a team timeout was called, or the measurement of stick strings in mid-contest.

SYRACUSE
Record: 19-5
Against the Final Four (0-2): lost to Maryland 14-9, lost to North Carolina 12-11
Key players: Kayla Treanor (sr., A/M), Kelly Cross (sr., M), Halle Majorana (sr., A), Nicole Levey (fr., A), Allie Murray (gr., G)
Intangibles: Head coach Gary Gait is used to a number of situations that you normally don’t find in the Rosabella Sinclair Book of Lacrosse Coaching. He scheduled two games in a day earlier this year (beating both Wagner and Marist by 16-5 scores), played a game against which literally took a month to finish, and had 15 ranked teams on the schedule. Halle Majorana excelled in her first intercollegiate season — at Maryland. She’ll be trying to extend her season against her former side.
The skinny: Treanor is one of the greatest midfielders in the history of NCAA women’s lacrosse, but finds herself playing in the same era as Cummings. Who amongst her teammates can step up their game? The Orange did a great job against a future powerhouse in USC last weekend, but this year’s Maryland team is a level above that.

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